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Texas governor convenes day of prayer and fasting
June 7th, 2011
03:16 PM ET

Texas governor convenes day of prayer and fasting

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants you to drop the Texas BBQ, grab a moist towelette and fold your hands to pray. On Monday, Perry  declared the date a “day of prayer and fasting for our nation’s challenges.”

"America is in crisis, " the Republican governor says on a website promoting the event. "We have been besieged by financial debt terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters."

Perry invited the 49 other governors in the U.S. to issue similar proclamations, “encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.” He wants other governors to join him at Houston's Reliant Stadium, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, for an August 6 event called The Response, organized by a conservative Christian group.

The Response is billed as a “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting," hosted by the American Family Association.

Its website features a welcome message from Perry, who is listed as the event’s “initiator”:

As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.

Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response. Therefore, on August 6, thousands will gather to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.

Perry's role in the event has drawn the ire of some who say he's blurring the line between church and state established in the U.S. Constitution.

"Here we go again,” Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy said. "Here is another politician who even if sincere in the invitation is suggesting that prayer is a public political tool for accomplishing his purposes, his purposes he favors for an agenda for the nation. You don't have to travel from New Jersey to Houston to pray. If you're serious about praying usually that's done most authentically and most persistently alone."

Gaddy, a Baptist minister in Louisiana, is also concerned if governors travel in from other states it will be billed to taxpayers: "We would expect them if they're going there to engage in non-partisan personal prayer, that they don't need their state government to write the check for going."

Perry has been thinking about running for president and several state Republican Party chairpeople have said they'd like him to mount a campaign. If a number of governors showed up at his August event, it could further raise Perry's profile.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback plans on attending The Response and has sent in his RSVP already a Perry spokeswoman said.  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hopes to go according to published reports. Both men are  Republicans who are outspoken about their Christian faith.

But the list of “no thank yous” from governors also seems to be growing.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, also got an invitation from Perry. But Christie Press Secretary Michael Drewniak said, “The governor does not plan to attend.”

Christie gets hundreds if not thousands of invitations every month, Drewniak told CNN. And as for Governor Christie issuing a similar statewide proclamation, Drewniak said nothing was planned but added, “I don’t know about a personal plan the governor may have to pray.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will not be making the trip to Texas, either. His spokesman told the Detroit News that Gov Snyder supports religious events like the National Day of Prayer, but his schedule was "extremely busy."

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, another Republican who is outspoken about his faith, got the invitation from Perry but is undecided.  His spokesman Jeff Caldwell told CNN it will depend on his schedule if he can attend if he does go, he will likely use private funds to attend.

Perry's office said while Brownback is the only confirmed governor guest so far, three other governors have said they will issue similar proclamations for August 6th.  Governor Rick Scott of Florida, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington have all signed on.  Haley and Scott, like Perry, are Republicans and Gregoire is a Democrat.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church and state

soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Sean Russell

    Another bad joke from our bad joke of a governor. This is all he can think of- more prayer. Worked real well last time. What a joke.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Keith

      Consider this: How long have you been praying that Perry would go away? 🙂

      June 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  2. Trent

    *eyeroll* Ok. You simple minded fools pray, I'm going to go do something useful.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  3. Panzita

    I moved to Oklahoma several years ago. I thought people here were crazy, but apparently, Texas is even crazier. Republicans and their religious platform make me want to barf.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Keith

      And you moved to OK why?

      Well okay, to be fair, educate us. We can rag on TX, but Austin is actually a pretty rational town. We can rag on AZ, but it appears that Tuscon is actually a pretty rational town. Plus of course, there are plenty of perfectly rational people in all the other towns in TX and AZ.

      So to be fair, let's get away from irrational generalizations. Educate us about OK. I'm sure there are similar stories about OK.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • royce

      this man makes me sick to be a texan.. he is doing this for pure political gain!

      June 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  4. Corvus1

    Separation of church and state? What's that?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • royce

      what a crook too

      June 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  5. AC

    From the book "Mention God In Every Second Sentence" by A. Hitler.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Len Grady

      Love it! I think it is also called pandering.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Keith

      There's a pretty funny video on YouTube that presents several quotations, and challenges you to guess which ones were said by Hitler and which ones were said by Glenn Beck. If you have a good feel for the difference in the time periods, then it's actually not TOO hard to tell. However, the point that they are VERY similar becomes readily apparent.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  6. Len Grady

    Here is the ultimate reason religion is so bad for America and the world "Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response. ". The problems are not beyond our power to solve. There are very specific things we can do that will allieviate many of our problems, if not all. However, what is beyond our power to control, is everyone's self interests. No one wants to give up anything, and everyone wants everything. Our problems will not be solved without coperation and sacrifice. In the end, perhaps capitalism and consumerism in its current form simply is not sustainable. Perhaps we are just in the death throes of a dead end way of living the short lives we have.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  7. DoodleSheep

    I "pray" that all politicians who support the "wars" in any form are fired into the sun. I "pray" that people who still believe in the christian, islam, etc fairy tales grow up and see through the lies and become adults.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  8. RickRod

    Ima show up and perform a traditional Muslim prayer. Let's see what happens.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Keith

      A few years ago when TX was trying to defend having public prayer over the loud speaker before TX high school football games, I remember a reporter going to some TX high school and asking a student her opinion about it. As a "good" Christian, she was, of course, in favor of having the prayers.

      The reporter then asked if it was okay with her if some Jewish students also did a prayer over the loud speaker before the game. Her response was she could never tolerate somebody praying "to another God" at her school.

      I say again. Oy vey! (And I'm not even Jewish.)

      June 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  9. c-dog

    FAst??? I'm actually gonna eat a stack of bibles

    June 7, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Keith

      You perhaps haven't considered the indegestion that'll give you. 🙂

      June 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  10. John Holroyd

    How pathetic. Cheap political grandstanding.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  11. Keith

    I saw this guy on The Daily Show. At the time I thought "I don't agree with this guy's polical ideology, but he seems like he might be a rare instance of a rational Republican politician." Shows you how two-faced these guys can be depending upon the venue at which they're appearing.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  12. Joe

    God is not on America's side. God is the god of the entire world. God judges individuals, not nations. God will not help the nation solve its problems, which were created by excessive greed. God cares just as much about a homeless person on the streets of Bankok as he does the Texas oil billionaire. How arrogant of someone to believe God would somehow favor our nation over others. Arrogance is another sin. Today's Christians are very much un-christ like.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • 210

      how arrogant of you to think you know everything about God, and that anyone that disagrees with you is wrong.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • asrael

      210 says "So's your old man"... next?

      June 7, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  13. Robita

    Can we pray and fast the Republicans that ruined the country out of office? I'll do it if we can.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • 210

      the Democrats control the House and the Oval office. they have all the power and are fixing NOTHING. it's time to stop blaming 1 side and realize that there are idiots in each party.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Keith

      No. I think you have to employ a Buddhist ritual or something to get rid of Republicans.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  14. BS

    Sounds to me like a blatant disregard for the separation of church and state.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • ray

      nothing wrong with calling for a national day of prayer.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • God is Crap

      Yes there is, Ray.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • 210

      so it's ok for our politicians to lie and cheat us but it isnt ok to ask God to help us? wow your ideology is seriously warped.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Keith

      210 – So it's okay for Perry to lie and cheat us, just so long as he calls for a big publicity prayer rally? So tell me, does Perry earn points with God based on how big the prayer rally is? Is there something like "you get so many heaven points per person who attends"?

      I'm also wondering... if God answers the prayers and imposes its will upon "the evil nasty people", isn' t that God interfering with the free will of those individuals? I thought one of the tenants of Christianity was that humans were given the ability to exercise their own free will.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • asrael

      God save us from the lying, cheating politicians who call for a day of prayer...

      June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • civiloutside

      210 – I fail to see anything in the post here that implies anyone approves of being lied to by politicians.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  15. sayitlikeyoumeanit

    We should all be afraid this is the American Taliban and they are going to be changing the face of America...

    June 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  16. reality

    get these nuts out of this country-go form your own and join opec the next day. God hates Texas

    June 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • ray

      a latino can be christian in his own country.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  17. dabble53

    Only a "Christian" day of prayer? How does that make it "non-denominational"? We should have let Texas secede decades ago, long before they subjected us to lunacy court decisions (eastern district anyone?) and the whole shrub family, just to name a few.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • ray

      i reject all of you any one who would deny god would deny my country man a job for an illegal. so your opinions are....worthless to me have a good night sleept tight and dont let the bran new imported third world bugs bite.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom

      Note that the shrub family came to Texas from MA.
      Rick Perry is an opportunist who makes his own opportunities and rules.
      Texas still has the right to divide into as many as 5 states. Maybe Perry can be gov in a state where I'm not.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Keith

      Ummm, Ray? The best way to "reject us" is to go away and not play with us anymore. 🙂

      June 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  18. abc

    i obviously meant devout not devote, thanks for the edit button cnn

    June 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  19. ray

    keith who knows what heak your talking about.

    what i know is traditional america. the one i was born in is in retreat.

    one language one culture one religion. Latino community is destorying our culture like a incidous cancer. at the other end musilim religion is chipping away at christianity. And at the other end .... forgieners has caused an explosion in labor , inflaiton, population , soon food crisis.meanwhile... Nafta wars and standing up third world toilet bowls has put us in debt.

    And the time has come for us to take a hard look. at a course which has failed. nothing wrong with saying that.

    the last 20 years have failed. we have tried globalization and multiculturlisim for 20.0 years buddy. not 20 weeks. It has not worked ( for the immigrant and small business owner yeah ) for us no.!. 5 or 3 good years out of 20 is not success. time to drop it.! deffer global responsbilities.

    close the door to everyone except political.....and...eceptional....immigrants only like it use to be!.

    time to restore christianity. and thats just the start.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • abc

      literally completely unacceptable, and you fail to notice that 95% of hispanics are christian...

      you have to look at the fact that fatty american greed is what has killed america, not immigrants...all your "christian bretheren" are immigrants as well...

      June 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • dabble53

      Are you for real? Do you bother to actually read about history? The founding fathers were not so much christian. The US was not founded on christianity, and it most certainly was NEVER founded on the idea of a single religion. Why do you think there is a 1st amendment? Obviously, another prime example of a failed education system and the supremacy of the religions (read that all as cults) in the US (and elsewhere)

      June 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Keith

      Let me guess. You have a pointy hat, right?

      June 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • OverEd

      Actually Ray, it looks as though what has failed is your education – specifically Spelling, English and Civics.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Panzita

      Ray, are you actually Jared Loughner in disguise? You rant like he does, only his spelling and grammar are better.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • ray

      ed my failures are Nano compared to the failures of my country men. importing 30 million people in here......exporting 5 million jobs ed. Abandoning americans to live on the street. renting hireing and employing eillegals over people you were born and raised with. My failures pail by light years in comparisons to anything like that. i gladly keep my failures compared to that. At least i dont have to live with that.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Sean Russell

      Ray – move to Iran if you're so hot for living in a theocracy. America deserves better than your silliness.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • ray

      over ed

      i may not know how to spell well. but i would never hire a forienger over a fellow american born here. I would never export a job. and i would never allow anyone to come in here. So.? i know i sleep a lot better than the one who did those things. everywhere i go i see americans picking garbadge, begging doing odd jobs. , unemployed, desperate for work Which? use to be common. while my fellow people hire our little buddies to the south? At least i near broke........i dont have to live with that.

      the guy who owns 5 businesses. with his lexus.....hireing 50 illegals.....hes the one? who has to look a an american rumming through garbadge.....................and make it ok with himself.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Arlene Strickland

      Ray, seriously, you sound drunk or stoned. Or off your meds. Ray, call your buddy. Call someone. Seriously, either you're faking the crazy or you really need help. I'm worried that you really need help. Log off and call a buddy.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • silvercobra

      ray, ray, ray... did you get past grade school? Go back and read your posts – you are an embarrassment to your generation, not just because you battle to communicate. Your arcane way of thinking about what America is needs to die. You're a dinasaur! A nation thrives through diversity. If everyone was like you, this country would implode. Seriously??!!

      June 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Dave

      Ray,
      This Latino is going to have to tell you to better know your own language and learn how to spell correctly in English

      June 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • ray

      you guys are rediculous......20 years later......this place is upside down.......but if you guys think it works. who am i to say no.?

      i got my visa cooking to austrilia anyway...........So i wont have to deal with it by 2015....

      June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • presto668

      Exceptional immigrants the way it used to be?

      You're right, ray, every immigrant who came here in the 18th and 19th centuries was world-class in their field of expertise.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  20. Steven Johnson

    Rick Perry is in a Secret Society from Texas A&M called the Stickas!!!! He wears his ring on his left hand. Also he is close buddies with General Webber who is Vice President of Student Affairs at A&M and also a sticka. They are both class of 1972!!!!

    June 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • ray

      abc i agree.......they can be christians in there own country not here. christianity says very clearly....that everyone has to have a nation. this ! is not there nation .

      June 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Adam Jones

      Yeah that is true..... also colonel Betty assistant commandant of cadets is a sticks. Also General Ostermann from class of 1972

      June 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.